SASI team set to fly flag at Para-cycling world titles

Bags are packed and a little tweaking is under way as SASI athletes prepare for the UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships in Rio de Janeiro between March 25 and 28

Lemon

A SENSE of excitement awaits SASI athletes who will represent Australia at the UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships in Rio de Janeiro between March 25 and 28.

But for one rising star, Brad Henderson, there is the added thrill of making his international debut and then backing that up about a week later as he dons the Aussie colours for his first Commonwealth Games.

Teaming with pilot Thomas Clarke in the men's tandem sprint events, Henderson, 27, said he was thrilled with the chance to compete at such a high level.

''It is exciting. To make my first international competition (Rio) and then to compete at the Commonwealth Games will be special,'' Henderson said.

''I'm not quite sure what to expect in Rio so we will go out and just go for it. But I am looking forward to the whole process.

''And to make the Commonwealth Games team is special and something I set myself for.

''To come back to home soil and to have parents coming up the Gold Coast and cheering for me and the team will be great. Two international meetings within a couple of weeks will be just great.''

Meg Lemon (national champion), Darren Hicks (world track debutant after two medals at world road series), Darcy Thompson (third national team), Kieran Murphy (two-time medallist at track world championships) and pilot Lachlan Glasspool (retired track star) also will compete in Rio as part of a 16-member Australian team. Murphy and Glasspool will compete in the men's endurance events.

SASI Para-cycling coach Loz Shaw said he was looking forward to watching how the SASI athletes competed in Rio.

''They are all tracking well and looking good. It will be interesting to see how they all go,'' Shaw said.

This will be the first time Brazil has hosted the UCI Para-Cycling Track World Championshsips.

Athletes from about 30 countries are expcted to compete on speed and resistance trials at the Rio's Velodrome.

The Rio event also marks the the first competition for the year which will have a bearing on athletes selected for the Tokyo Paralympic Games in 2020.

Henderson

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